With October coming to a close, that means the UEFA Champions League group stage begins its final three rounds of matches.
Leading the way on Tuesday is a clash that features two league title hopefuls squaring off at the Olimpico. Chelsea travels to Roma after the sides played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge earlier this month.
Elsewhere, Manchester United hosts Benfica after an important league win over the weekend while Bayern Munich faces a tricky test against Scottish champions, Celtic F.C.
Here’s a closer look at Tuesday’s action:
ROMA VS. CHELSEA (3:45 p.m., Fox Sports 2)
Injuries of Note: Chelsea will be without winger Victor Moses who continues to nurse a hamstring problem suffered on Oct. 14th. Danny Drinkwater however returns in midfield contention for Antonio Conte’s side. Patrik Schick, Gregoire Defrel, and Emerson Palmieri are all doubts for Roma but Kevin Strootman and Stephan El Shaarawy are expected to play.
Key to the Game: In their last meeting, Chelsea saw a two-goal lead slip away before Eden Hazard netted a late equalizer to salvage a point. Both teams will need to be better defensively in order to claim all three points, but both possess numerous weapons offensively in case we have a shootout.
Player to Watch: Chelsea winger Eden Hazard found the back of the net twice in the 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge earlier this month. The Belgian may not be putting up the numbers he usually does, but he is still a top class talent and should be watched carefully by the Roma defenders.
Quote: ‘Yeah for sure [back to full fitness], definitely. I’m training hard, the injury is the past,” said Hazard. “I’m fully ready for the next game, I just want to play. A big week is coming, so it was important also for the confidence to stay high, after the game against Watford, to win at Bournemouth.”
MANCHESTER UNITED VS. BENFICA (3:45 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Injuries of Note: Midfielders Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, and Paul Pogba remain out for Jose Mourinho’s side. Other than that there are no new injury concerns for the Red Devils.
Key to the Game: Manchester United really had to dig in for a winner against Benfica in Lisbon earlier this month, and will need to show more dominance at home. Wingers Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford will be huge in creating chances down the flanks.
Player to Watch: United striker Romelu Lukaku has scored 10 goals so far this season across all competitions, and is a clinical finisher in front of goal. Benfica will have their hands full with the Belgian if he is on his game.
Quote: “Benfica are a better team than Basel and CSKA,” said Mourinho. “Yes, they are in a difficult position and now they can really only expect to get enough points to go into the Europa League. So they are going to try to get at least a point from our match.”
CELTIC VS. BAYERN MUNICH (3:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Match Pass)
Injuries of Note: Bayern faces a tricky test at Celtic Park without the likes of star striker Robert Lewandowski. The Polish international has not traveled with the team, after picking up a knock against RB Leipzig last weekend. Thomas Muller is also expected to be out for Bayern, while winger Patrick Roberts is out for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Key to the Game: Celtic were brushed aside by the German champs earlier this month at the Allianz Arena, but at home the Bhoys are a different animal. Celtic will need to defend heavily against a very talented Bayern midfield, and be able to make the most of their counter-attacking opportunities.
Player to Watch: Celtic winger Scott Sinclair is instrumental in the team’s build-up and will need to pick up even more duties with Roberts out. The 28-year-old has six goals in the Champions League this season, and could cause some problems for Bayern’s backline.
Quote: “The game will be different here, especially with the crowd getting behind us,” said Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths. “In the second half [away] we were much more disciplined to go and play. We created good chances to score goals. If we can replicate the last half hour we played over there then we give ourselves a good shot.”
Atletico Madrid vs. FK Qarabag (3:45 p.m., Fox Sports Match Pass)
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Anderlecht (3:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Match Pass)
Basel vs. CSKA Moscow (3:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Match Pass)
Sporting Lisbon vs. Juventus (3:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Match Pass)
Olympiakos vs. Barcelona (3:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Match Pass)